Judge David Dugan – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Judge David Dugan is the epitome of a consensus nominee: a judge with extensive litigation experience and the support of the Republican Administration and his Democratic home-state senators.

Background

David W. Dugan was born in 1960.  Dugan received a B.A. in Political Science from Eastern Illinois University in 1982 and his J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1985.[1]  After law school, Dugan entered private practice, focusing on personal injury and commercial litigation, as well as working as a part-time assistant state’s attorney.[2]

In 2017, Dugan was appointed by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier to the Third Judicial Circuit.[3]  Dugan has served on the court ever since.

History of the Seat

Dugan has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.  This seat opened on January 7, 2019, when Judge David Herndon moved to senior status.  Dugan was nominated on February 12, 2020.

Legal Career

Dugan has practiced in civil and commercial litigation between 1986 and 2016.  In his thirty years of legal practice, Dugan has practiced in both state and federal courts, in particular in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Among the various cases that Dugan had handled, he represented plaintiffs seeking recovery for injuries from automobile accidents,[4]  prisoners seeking release under habeas review,[5]  and a plaintiff seeking to return an action that was “removed” to federal court back into state court.[6] 

Jurisprudence 

Dugan has served as an Illinois Circuit Court judge since his appointment in 2017.  In this role, Dugan serves on a court of general jurisdiction, reviewing civil and criminal cases, as well as habeas corpus and mandamus writs.  Among the cases he handled, Dugan reviewed a number of decisions of the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission,[7] as well as claims against the state government.[8]  Dugan’s decisions have generally been affirmed by higher courts.

Political Activity

Dugan has frequently donated to political candidates, mostly giving to Republicans, but with a handful of contributions to Democrats as well, most notably to then-Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004.[9]

Overall Assessment

As noted earlier, Dugan has an uncontroversial record, decades of legal experience, and bipartisan support.  He will likely be confirmed near unanimously later this year.


[1] Staff Report, David W. Dugan Appointed as Circuit Judge for Third Judicial Circuit, The Telegraph, Feb. 12, 2017, https://www.thetelegraph.com/news/article/David-W-Dugan-appointed-as-circuit-judge-for-12589912.php.

[2] See id.

[3] Id.

[4] See, e.g., Lynch v. Switalski, 2003 WL 262519 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 5, 2003).

[5] See e.g., Gines v. Mote, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33082 (S.D. Ill. Mar. 25, 2004).

[6] See Loellke v. Moore, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9313 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 26, 2012).

[7] See, e.g., Rednour v. Ill. Workers’ Comp. Comm’n, 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1758 (Ill. App. Oct. 2, 2018).

[8] See, e.g., Grater v. Court of Claims, 2019 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1425 (Ill. App. Jul. 25, 2019).

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